The retina as a window to cognitive impairment

Queen’s University Belfast researchers have received a grant to co-lead a study on how the retina can reveal dementia in people with type 2 diabetes

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A new research project will examine how the retina can reveal signs of cognitive impairment in patients with type 2 diabetes.

Scientists from Queen’s University Belfast and from Vall d’Hebron University Hospital in Spain have been awarded funding from the European Union to undertake the research through a Horizon 2020 grant.

The four-year Recognised project will investigate whether the biological mechanisms that cause structural and functional alternations in the retina in people with type 2 diabetes could be the same pathways that influence the development of cognitive impairment and dementia.

Lead researcher from Queen’s University, Professor Noemi Lois, said the research could help to identify cognitive impairment in diabetes patients earlier, enabling the provision of better support.

“Importantly, this study will help us to understand better the mechanisms of cognitive decline in people with type 2 diabetes, which is required for the development of new treatments,” she said.

The EU Horizon 2020 grant will provide €6 million (£5.4 million) to the project.